Cape Town Water Crisis

My personal perspective, backed by exhaustive watercooler talk, attending many meetings with top experts and monitoring behavioural change, is the following:

  1. WE ARE NOT GOING TO RUN OUT OF WATER
  2. We are, however, as a city, changing our behaviour.
  3. As individuals, Pool covers are applied, water tanks installed to catch rain water, saunas are a luxury left to hotels and we shower instead of taking baths.
  4. As a government, alternative water supplies and stricter penalties for excessive use is being implemented.

Almost like my current diet (which is working), everything will be fine if you exercise a bit of discipline, work together and curb lazy or wasteful behaviour. None of these are bad things.

So visitors – you are welcome. Come on down!

Official response below from Wesgro:

Planning to visit Cape Town and the Western Cape? Come and enjoy, but be mindful of the drought

Come enjoy….

Cape Town and the Western Cape are open for business in spite of the current drought. Visitors are arriving in a place with a significant breadth and depth of experiences and exceptional beauty. However, as beautiful as it is, the Western Cape is a water-scarce part of the world (much like Southern California and Western Australia) and is vulnerable to the effects of climate change and is susceptible to periodic droughts.

At present the Western Cape is experiencing a significant drought. This is a 1 in 1000-year occurrence. To counter the short-term effects of the drought and the possibility of running out of water, the City has put in place a number of initiatives to increase the supply of water and make provision for extreme water shortages.

There are still many places across the Western Cape that are not as severely affected by the drought such as the nearby Garden Route and the Cape Overberg.

…but be mindful

Below average rainfall over a number of years has forced everyone who lives in or visits Cape Town to rethink their water usage behaviours. Responsible consumption of water is the new normal – not just in Cape Town but in many other water-scarce places in the world.

Some parts of the tourism and hospitality industry have proactively adjusted how they utilise water to reduce their consumption – giving guests peace of mind that every drop is being used responsibly.

In the event of what the City of Cape Town refers to as ‘Day Zero’, there will be available water for tourists and locals’ critical needs. This is considered to be water for personal hygiene and consumption. ‘Day Zero’ is when the City of Cape Town cuts the regular flow of water.

‘Day Zero’ is a projected date that is entirely dependent on current rates of water consumption: if all stakeholders adhere to the required water savings target, ‘Day Zero’ can be avoided.

Much like a local, tourists need to treat this scarce resource with the utmost respect.

an inspiring place to do business

Frequently asked questions

If tourists visit Cape Town / The Western Cape will there be water?

• There is adequate water for tourists’ essential daily needs such as washing, using the toilet, and other daily hygeine.
In the event of ‘Day Zero’, water will be severly rationed but sufficient for daily needs. At present water restrictions are in place in the City of Cape Town, and residents and tourists are requested to adhere to them.

What does ‘Day Zero’ mean?

  • ‘Day Zero’ is when the City of Cape Town would cut the regular flow of water.
  • ‘Day Zero’ is a projected date (in approximately three months time at current projections) that is entirely dependent on current rates of water consumption: if all stakeholders adhere to the required water savings target, ‘Day Zero’ can be avoided.
  • Tourists would still be able to enjoy the diverse and world-class experiences Cape Town and the Western Cape has to offer.If “Day Zero” arrives, how long will the ordinary flow of water be cut?

• Cape Town is located in a winter rainfall area. Historically the winter rains have started in April, but they can start as late as June. We should be prepared to live with very little water for around three months, with the hope that by the end of winter, enough rain has fallen to switch the water system back on, but it all depends on when rain falls in the
water source areas that feed the dams.

How widespread is the drought in South Africa?

  • The drought and resultant water restrictions are mostly isolated to parts of the Western Cape province – particularly the City of Cape Town and surrounding areas.
  • Nearby regions like The Cape Overberg and The Garden Route are less impacted by water restrictions. It’s important to remember that South Africa in general is a water-scarce country.Will tourists have access to drinking water?• Yes.Will tourists be able to bath, shower or use a swimming pool?
  • At present, tourists will be able to shower and maintain daily hygiene. Mandated guidelines suggest a shower of no longer than 2 minutes. The use of baths is entirely discouraged. Some swimming pools at hotels have been converted to salt (ocean) water.
  • The majority of tourism establishments have put in place measures to ensure their water usage is reduced, and many have developed plans for alternative supplies.Will restaurants and bars still be in operation?
  • In the event of ‘Day Zero’ – yes. Many parts of the hospitality industry have proactively implemented water savings and water augmentation solutions to ensure ongoing availability of water in their establishments.
  • Restaurants and bars are not currently negatively influenced but must still comply with water restrictions.Which tourism activities could be impacted?
  • Tourists will still be able to access and enjoy primary tourism attractions such as our iconic Table Mountain, Cape Point and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
  • Specific river-based experiences may be impacted.Will emergency services still function in the event of ‘Day Zero’?

• Yes. All critical emergency services (hospitals, clinics, police services) will continue to function.

Will major events still be staged?

• Yes. All major events have proactively put in place plans to ensure that events have a zero or heavily reduced water footprint e.g. bringing in water from outside of Cape Town / the Western Cape.

PG TOPS NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS

Happy 2018 everyone! We decided to poll the girls in the office on their goals, dreams and aspirations for 2018. Some reckon New Year’s resolutions are SO 2017, others have some clear ideas….

Monade – Explore and travel more

A passport has approximately 26 blank pages and is valid for 10 years. In my previous passport (that expired about 2 months ago) only 2 of the 26 pages were stamped as I lived in the Netherlands for 1 year and spent almost half a day in Namibia. At the start of each year I challenge myself to travel more, not only internationally but locally as well. This year I will follow through and not waste another 26 pages. “If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet”. Let the money saving start and the travelling begin. Bucket list destinations for the year includes: Botswana, Zimbabwe (Vic Falls), Zambia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore & Malaysia.

Bianca – I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions and my real name is last-minute-dot-com

People love micro managing their lives to the last T. What are we going to eat tonight? What am I going to wear to that work thing tomorrow? I wish my hips were smaller – no more carbs starting Monday… yeah right. Not me, the word resolution means “a firm decision to do or not to do something”. Today I might decide to not eat chocolates anymore, but I most certainly will not abandon my sweet friends for an entire year. I want to travel the world, but I’ll only start planning the trip a week before. I might not believe in New Years resolutions but maybe I’ll start a new trend of New week resolutions.

Lauren – In past years, when it came to new year’s resolution, getting into shape and getting out debt was the trend for many people.  This year, I’d like to take a different route.

  1. To become more confident and take some chances: If you are confident other people notice it, and it is much easier to have your opinions heard, ask people out on dates and get ahead at work among other things. I think that caring too much about what other people think keeps me back a bit and I aim to change this in 2018.
  2. Another new year’s resolution I’d like to take up is writing. I used to love writing and it was something I did all the time when I was a teenager, but this year I think I’d like to start again as it is a great stress reliever and a great way to express yourself not just emotionally but artistically as well.

Khunji – This year I will wake up every morning:

  • Be awesome,
  • Work very hard
  • Live life colorfully,
  • Choose happiness every day,
  • Chase adventure and do what I love 😊
  • And lastly stay out of debt!

Imogen – be healthier, travel more, hang out with my dogs more…

 Yandisa-think and dream big!

  • Learn to believe and stand up for myself
  • Overcome fear and dream big

Worldwide Travel Adventure Summit

According to Wikipedia, the sage on all facts either alternative or actual, a cult can be defined as follows:

1. A system of religious veneration and devotion directed towards a particular figure or object. “the cult of St Olaf”

2. A person or thing that is popular or fashionable among a particular group or section of society.

The definition, therefore, is broadly applicable to the lovefest masquerading as a travel conference that is the Worldwide Travel Adventure Summit, held in Salta Argentina in October of 2017. 

Take a community of  a 1000 worldwide tourism business owners, marketing people, adventure travel writers and techies. Place them in conditions imminently suitable for revelry, networking, learning and sharing. Ply them with Argentinian red wine, sweeten them up with Dulce de Lece and placate them with Empanadas. Assault their senses with music from all over the world, inspiring tales of courage, perseverance and extraordinary charity from famous adventurers, global misfits and incessant do-gooders.


Educate them on industry trends, environmental impact, technology accellerators, new destinations, old destinations with sexy new outfits.

 
Finally, infuse them with a persistent and urelenting sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and inspire them to travel more, do more, see more, grow more and share more.

 
The South African contingent that participated in this year's summit included delegates from all over the country, offering itineraries that included bike tours, river rafting, hiking, wildlife viewing, shark cage diving, whale watching, volunteering, surfing, running, ziplining and team building. And then there was me. The guy that likes to go fine dining.


We were a lucky bunch to be able to attend. Our participation also included a pre-summit adventure, as well as a day of adventure.


But THAT. That is a whole different blog.

 
Suffice it to say, I am inspired that Africa generally, and South Africa particularly, will stay on the wishlist of global travelers, and we are well placed to ride a boom of visitors and the associated employment and economic opportunities.  We are luck to work in the industry, and I am inspired to persist with our social initiatives through Boot Camp, to expand our product portfolio to take advantage of the networks build and to help attract even more interest to our fine shores.

 
Religious veneration of travel? You betcha!

A visit to Cape Town’s hottest new attraction: Zeitz MOCAA

If you didn’t know what MOCAA is – the Museum of Contemporary African Art. First of its kind, first in Africa. This is good stuff, even for a cultural philistine like myself.

Let’s backtrack. A few years ago the V&A Waterfront significantly upped their game in terms of strategic initiatives to expand its product. There have many big wins for us in the tourism industry – the Red Shed, the Food Market, the Oranjezicht farmers market, the Big Wheel… but now they have hit it out of the park.

The dilapidated old grain silos, which were essentially – and historically – an eyesore, have been transformed into a world class business precinct, an uber luxury hotel and… a museum to match the Guggenheim, the Tate and the Prado.

The Silo Hotel is THE hot new spot in Cape Town. It shared the building with the museum, and you can actually look down from the deck outside the restaurant down into the museum atrium – which has been designed in the shape of a piece of grain (believe it) to majestic proportions. The initial exhibit is a dragon African style. The effect of this exhibit, contextualized in a modern cathedral of impressive contradiction, assaults you visually much in the same way anyone feels by round 5 in the ring with Floyd Mayweather. That’s art talk. Except for the bit of Mayweather.

The powerhouse German businessman and philantropist that seeded the collection is Jochen Zeitz – google him and be impressed.

The guys doing the talking at the launch had me spellbound too. I get why the Waterfront is doing so well – CEO David Green clearly know what he’s doing, and the architect Thomas Heatherwick? That chap is one of those people that I theoretically would have on my list for a dream dinner party.

A big thanks and kudos to Chantelle Cole, strategic projects manager from the Waterfront, who arranged for Caroline and myself to attend this special pre-viewing. The museum opens on the 22nd, tickets are R180 and we are immediately adding this as an optional activity on our city tour offering.

 

PG YEAR 1: 2009 – The Year of the Rugby

There has been a bit of a revival in the fortunes of the Springboks this year – the proof will be in the pudding, of course, as we head into the Australisian leg of the Tri-Nations, but so far so good. 2009 was a similiar sort of year – Snorre was in his second year in charge, his first year was less than stellar but the next year he dominated by winning both the Tri-Nations and the Lions Tour. That year, Province narrowly lost a home semi-final in the Currie Cup to the Bulls, who were also Super Rugby champions that year.

I remember it fondly, as I watched a number of Currie Cup, Super Rugby and Springbok games that year – PROFESSIONALLY.

Now you might ask, how does one become a professional rugby watcher? Well, let me break it down for you.

I started doing my marketing to the youth travel sector in December of 2008… it was rough going, as people were generally suspicious of a newcomer, even one as obviously charming and trustworthy as myself. I realized that for wine tours, peninsula tours, even city tours everyone already had a trusted supplier and it was tough to break in. So I had to come up with a new plan.

Concurrently, I was once again single on Valentines Day, and as it happened there was a Stormers Sharks game at Newlands -and hey presto. I arranged an event including boerewors on a gas braai, beers and brandewyn for about 30 of my closest friends. What a party. We lost the game, but it occurred to me that was incidental to the fun we had. I had rediscovered my childhood favourite spot at the Groote Schuur primary school rugby fields, where fans from all ages, creeds and colours gathered to braai, talk and have fun.

So the next week the Stormers played the Reds on a Friday night. I bought a few tickets and said maybe I could market this as an event. “You are not a thought leader, and it is a Friday night – people don’t go to rugby on a Friday night,” hissed my sister, betting me I could not sell the tickets. I took up the challenge, which ended in a draw. I did sell half the tickets, but the other half I gave away to industry colleagues and potential agents. A fun time was had regardless, and we were on our way.

Over the following two months I would attend a couple more games in the same fashion – and found a rich vein of support from backpackers in Long Street, Dutch volunteers and American students. We watched rugby, we listened to Kurt Darren, we had a blast.

Around this time, the British and Irish Lions cruised into town. This 12 match tour came with about 20,000 touring supporters, and all hell broke loose. I looked after the KUDUS, and they were in my charge for more than 3.5 weeks. Over the course of that time we traveled up and down the country, watched 9 games of rugby in four different stadiums including three tests, and built memories and friendships to last a lifetime. Among the highlights were meeting Danie Gerber at the Port Elizabeth police rugby club, winning the series at Loftus and misadventures with lost luggage. What a great group, and I look forward to seeing them again in four years!

After the euphoric Lions Tour and some liver recovery time, it was back to the business of hosting rugby braais. It was the turn of the Currie Cup, and the Western Province did not disappoint – making it all the way to the semi-final where a moment of madness from that Fijian winger cost us our spot in the final. As was often the theme of those years, it was the Bulls that did us in. They were a champion team and went on to add the Currie Cup to the Super Rugby trophy.

It was a brilliant time for me. We watched another six games of Currie Cup rugby at Newlands including the semis, I hosted some brilliant people and had a lot of fun in the process.

This year, there were not braais at Newlands. The authorities shut down the environment to beers and braais, so what was a glorious time in the early days is now officially over. I still go to the games, I still host guests (at my house these days) but I no longer troll Long Street for takers or entertain mates at the games. The Bulls are absolutely terrible, the Stormers/Province still do ok without being amazing, and the Springboks… well, they were glorious in 2009, lets see what 2017 brings.

In the meantime,  I will be celebrating national braai day with some friends, a few dogs and the missus. Probably watching the rugger on telly. Braai day in a different guise, but still one of our best traditions!

Q&A with Imogen McCormick-Matthews

What is your role at PG Tops?

Consultant.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Assisting people from around the world in putting together a once-in-a-life time trip to our beautiful country; it is very special. Being a part of big life events such as engagements, honeymoons, birthdays and reunions is amazing!

What makes PG Tops unique?

PG Tops offers a completely customised and personal service to clients.

What is your favorite PG Tops tour and why?

I used to work as a field guide in the Eastern Cape and as much as I love the city, the bush will always be a special place, so a safari is always my favourite.

What is your ultimate travel destination in South Africa?

South Africa is so diverse and each area offers something so different to the next, so it’s hard to pick just one. However, having said that Cape Town offers pretty much everything so if you only have a short amount of time in South Africa, a trip to the Mother City is a must.

What are the top three destinations on your bucket list?

Botswana

Bora Bora

Italy

If you could have dinner with any woman in the world, who would it be?

My mom. My parents live in the UK and even though I normally see them about twice a year, an extra dinner (preferably cooked by my mom) would always be nice.

What women in the travel and tourism industry inspire you?

I have so much respect for women who guide. It’s a role that’s male-dominated and sometimes presents challenges from lifting heavy bags, changing tyres and convincing guests you can drive the big vehicle in front of them.

What is the best career advice you have been given?

Never give up. If someone says you can’t do something, prove them wrong and pursue your dreams.

What is your favourite motivational quote?

“Life is a journey and only you hold the map.”

If you could only pack five things for a trip, what would they be?

Passport

Purse

Sunglasses

My two dogs!

Q&A with Danielle Janse van Rensburg

 

What is your role at PG Tops?

Tour facilitator.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

My dual role of consultant and tour guide. I never get sick of one job because I have the best of both worlds.

What makes PG Tops unique?

Obi, our friendly PG Tops mascot (Pieter’s Labrador) and reason to smile when stuck in the office all day.

What is your favourite PG Tops tour and why?

Winelands, because it’s a stunning area, filled with lots of hidden gems, nature, hikes, local markets, amazing wine and delicious food. All my favourite things.

What is your ultimate travel destination in South Africa?

Sodwana Bay.

What are the top three destinations on your bucket list?

Fiji, India and all of South America.

If you could have dinner with any woman in the world, who would it be?

Amelia Earhart.

What women in the travel and tourism industry inspire you?

Bianca Smith – she is a rockstar consultant!

What is the best career advice you have been given?

The best service you can give starts with listening.

Who is your role model and why?

My mother – she’s been through thick and thin and still rocks out every day with a smile.

What is your favourite motivational quote?

“Just keep swimming” – Dory

If you could only pack five things for a trip, what would they be?

Toothbrush and four pairs of clean underwear. 😊

Q&A with Bianca Smith

1. What is your role at PG Tops?

Overseeing staff, handling HR, banking and consulting.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

Creating/ building new and exciting itineraries for clients.

3. What makes PG Tops unique?

The flexibility of our tours, our guides and the speed of replying upon consultation.

4. What is your favourite PG Tops tour and why?

Peninsula! There’s just so much to see and the best part is driving around at Cape Point looking for animals.

5. What is your ultimate travel destination in South Africa?

Narina Lodge, Kruger.

6. What are the top three destinations on your bucket list?

  • Namibia
  • Botswana
  • Mozambique

7. If you could have dinner with any woman in the world, who would it be?

Kate Hudson – I often hear that I look like her.

8. What women in the travel and tourism industry inspire you?

All my lovely lady colleagues in the office – Imogen, Monade, Danielle & Lauren.

9. What is the best career advice you have been given?

Under promise and over deliver.

10. What is your favourite motivational quote?

Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.

11. If you could only pack five things for a trip, what would they be?

Underwear, mascara, phone, charger and wallet.

Q&A with Lauren-Lee Isaacs

1. What is your role at PG Tops?

My main role is called Control Tower and it basically means that I’m in charge of the schedule and making sure that all the bookings display the correct information. I make sure that each client has a guide and a vehicle allocated to it. I am also a consultant.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

The people I work with; there is not a day that goes by that we don’t have a good laugh. Also, the educationals (experiencing the places we send clients first hand). But my job is very challenging (which I like) and it’s very rewarding when a client gives you a good review because then you know you’ve delivered a great service.

3. What makes PG Tops unique?

Well, I don’t think there is anything specific that makes us unique as there are so many places out there that do what we do. I think the difference though is that we do it better.

4. What is your favourite PG Tops tour and why?

The Cape Canopy Tour. I’d do it again and again and again because it’s just so much fun and I kind of think it’s a good stress reliever. I also love Hermanus and the drive going there. I feel like it’s our own little Hamptons.

5. What is your ultimate travel destination in South Africa?

If I could choose to go anywhere in South Africa, it would have to be Grootbos, Gansbaai, we were recently treated to an overnight educational and it was amazing.

6. What are the top three destinations on your bucket list?

Turkey, Cuba and Chile. Turkey for the Turkish Delight, Cuba for the Cuban Cigars and Chile for the Chinchorro mummies.

7. If you could have dinner with any woman in the world, who would it be?

Ellen Degeneres. I think she’s hilarious but is also a great ambassador for women all over the world.

8. What women in the travel and tourism industry inspire you?

It would have to be one of my tourism lecturers, Lesley Badenhorst. She played a very important role in getting me to where I am today.

9. What is the best career advice you have been given?

Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you’ve already done.

10. Who is your role model and why?

My role model is not a woman but my father.

11. What is your favourite motivational quote?

‘’I believe in pink; I believe that laughter is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything else is going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another and day and I believe in miracles.’’ (Audrey Hepburn)

12. If you could only pack five things for a trip, what would they be?

If I were going on an island vacation, I would take a good book, iPod, a camera, sunglasses, flip-flops and suntan lotion.

Q&A with Monade van Eeden

1. What is your role at PG Tops?

PG Tops reservations team leader & consultant.

2. What do you enjoy most about your job?

Working with my awesome colleagues.

3. What makes PG Tops unique

Thinking out of the box when consulting and having an awesome boss like Pieter.

4. What is your favourite PG Tops tour and why?

Cape Peninsula tour as it covers such a large area of our beautiful city.

5. What is your ultimate travel destination in South Africa?

Grootbos.

6. What are the top three destinations on your bucket list?

Vietnam, Bali & Greece.

7. If you could have dinner with any woman in the world, who would it be?

Jennifer Aniston. I would like to know what hair products she uses. 😊

8. What women in the travel and tourism industry inspire you?

My sister, Eunice, and all my fellow colleagues. Girl power!

9. What is the best career advice you have been given?

If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat, just get on!

10. Who is your role model and why?

My dad. He always gives the best advice – even if I don’t want to hear it.

11. What is your favourite motivational quote?

Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace.

12. If you could only pack five things for a trip, what would they be?

Sunglasses, a Deon Meyer book, wet wipes, credit card and passport.